4. Fisherman overboard..

21st March 2004

Luca and Zoë take turns at night to sleep with me. Zoë said that I shouldn’t be lonely ! sometimes even during the night I have to swap them because the one not with me wakes up with nightmares…. I’ve been working on AAS this week, it has to be kept alive and kicking for Sonia because John had no life insurance. I can’t believe it ! it’s just not like him ! but then sometimes I feel like saying I don’t care, all I want is to make Ari better, I don’t want to concentrate on work, but I should too, just for Ari, because I don’t want him to wake up and everything is gone. He’s dedicated his life to AAS. Had.


Monday 22nd March:   News ! News !
Ari has been opening his eyes to express anger (especially at the horrid physio who keeps making him do horrid exercises…) That is a good sign, plus his doctors are really happy with his progress. I’m quite sure his coma is coming to an end, although of course I can still not give a specific date.

Genevieve has decided to return to her editing work on the 1st April, so we’re going to start looking at all that footage Ari and his Crew had in store for us.

Hang in there all you wonderful Fans, we’ll be back soon !


22 March 2004

Zoë dreamt that you had woken up and that you were driving home, except that there was only one seat in the car, so she had to sit on your head…. Oh and it was a flying car !

Today it was an epic visiting ! I went with my mom and you were ‘awake’ (HR 95-120) so squeezing hand, sweating, moving your head and swallowing. But you wouldn’t open your eyes…. I could see a little sweat on your right side of your face, while the left was pouring, that’s an improvement ! We left, I’d plopped AAS on your ears. Someone came to find us to say you’d opened your one eye just after we’d left…. Bugger ! Gen and her mom walked in 5 minutes later and said you were moving a lot. AAS ? and your eye was still open ! I ran in, but too late … You won’t do it for me. Janine, Jeremy’s wife, said he did the same to her ! He’s just had a stomach op, I met her in ICU and we share progress stories… Your doc says your internal organs are 100 % functioning, which means your brain is working for that ! He reckons it’s going to be a 4-8 weeks coma – it’s already been 3 weeks. How much longer ?? Before I left, I put the new comedy tape that I made for you on your ears. You soon fell asleep !!! (75-95 HR)…

Zoë said today “You won’t be alone in your car, maybe Charlie or John will come with you, maybe they might”. That’s an interesting thing to hear from a four year old..


22 March (again)

Well, what a change in my mind ! Now it has occurred to me, visiting Ari tonight, that ye old man is right in there trying to get out, hating being treated like a veggie pie, like a baby. Probably the reason he was moving so much when Gen came in earlier, when he was listening to AAS, he was probably irritated like hell at listening to AAS with Gavin Johnson AGAIN ! What made me think that ? OK, tonight, before I left, I played him his comedy tape again. I thought he’d be happy. But I stayed there a bit and he started opening his eye at last ! and he was tapping my hand with his left little finger. Then he yawned, then I thought his face looked like he’d just eaten a rotten mushroom ! Then I remembered: he usually opens his eye when the physio works him, and he said he looks very angry. So of course ! ‘Old Ari’ would’ve hated hearing the same comedy lines over and over again, and anyway maybe he didn’t like that particular comedian much. Let alone the physio ! So if I want his eye open, I must make him cross ! But that’s not the point, I can see when I’m there  and he’s awake, he holds my hand real tight, I spoke about the kids and he almost broke my fingers ! He moves his fingers like love. He doesn’t seem to like me pressing pressure points on his feet, he almost opened his eye at me ! I reckon he tries really hard to get out of his glass box, he sweats so much. He tenses real hard, like he’s trying to get out. He will soon. He’ll be fine, I know he will be. I can’t  WAIT !!!


QUOTE in my diary on that day:  He shall find peace. We shall hear the angels. He shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds’ – Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) – (funny how those quotes always seem so appropriate…)


27th March

So now, Ari still alternates between sleep and wake cycles, but when he’s awake, he gets so agitated. His heart rate goes over 140, his Bp too high. So they have to relax him with a cocktail involving Pethadine, which means that either when we visit him, he is asleep with drugs and unresponsive or else he is half mad. He shakes so much, his bed shakes too. He tenses so much that he has great pecs! Ha ha! But that’s when he opens his eye mostly. Not really out of anger. He had it open 10 minutes for Sheryl. His pupil dilates and contracts, and it moves left and right so maybe he can see something. He was grinding his teeth a lot the other day, moving his jaws and smacking his lips. Last night he was awake, but only up to 125, not so agitated.

You wouldn’t let me leave, you kept squeezing my hand like you were saying don’t go, and then you let go and moved your hand away. Maybe my imagination, but I figured it was time to go, so I plopped Norah Jones and Luca and Zoë in your ears. I know it’s not your type of music but it’s been so soothing to me and I want to tell you a lot of the things she says.

You have a new neighbour since last week-end. Darren, 28, motorbike accident, big damage to internal organs, had to be opened up four times. His girlfriend Kirstie (25) looks a bit like me but taller. His mum Jane is very nice.

Yes my love, if you were here again, I would be freed of all this weight and pain. I know you will be. But when?


Monday 29th March 2004: It’s one month to the day since the Land Rover Discovery carried away John and Charlie – and borrowed Ari for a while. A long while, as Ari has not yet fully emerged from his slumber… But fear not, progress is being made, albeit at a slow pace.

African Angling Safaris is just a week away from being given a new lease on life: from next Monday, what is left of the Team will put heads together and attempt an amazing Come-Back !

Until we see you again from behind the little screen,
“Tight Lines and Screaming Reels ! Sala Kahle !”
Gaëlle Bert


3rd April 2004

Selfish again – lonely, lonely. I want you to hold me, love me! So long, five weeks. But you’re progressing; now you’ve been trying to pull out your tubes for 2-3 days. So Yvecious, your nurse, has tied your arms to the side of the bed. When I was rubbing your right big toe, which is supposed to represent the brain, you moved as if it was painful – sure: your brain must be sensitive (or your toes hurts). You weren’t opening your eyes for me. Adele and your parents have seen you this week, but not me. Not since last weekend, but you seemed to enjoy me reading you Feet of Clay (Terry Pratchet). When Gen was here today, you’d just been sedated, but you turned your head into my hand when I touched your face. I asked you to turn to Gen to say Hi and you did. Your uncle Phillip was encouraged when he saw you this morning, having flown all the way from Australia to see you: you had your eye open on command! Not for me. I couldn’t get out of bed today. The kids woke me. Then I just sat in my pyjamas and only made breakfast because I had to. I moved out at 11h00 because I had a meeting with tenants at Faldouet. It cleared my mind a bit. Last night I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I had a blue Red Square and listened to Norah Jones until I fell asleep. I imagined Charlie was still alive and he could make the show go on, because he knows what you want and I don’t know anything about fishing, really. And he could keep me company.

You want to know who your best friends are? The ones who have visited you the most are Spencer and Mario. Craig and Ilan too, they live very close, but not as regularly. (No, well Craig travels a lot)

I wish I could ask someone to come over tonight. I am feeling so lonely, but don’t know who to ask. Ellen or the twins would have been my choice, but they’re in France so that’s not possible! Last Saturday I was at Ilan’s 30th. That was perfect; I would like to be with people talking about something else. People I don’t know that I can observe at my leisure. Next weekend when the kids are in Dullstroom I have asked Spencer and Mario to take me somewhere. I want to cry tonight. I want a hug. I hope I get up early. Going to the Moores’ tomorrow with the kids. Will have a picnic at the Botanical Gardens with Charlie’s mother. How’s that going to be? If it wasn’t for the kids, I’d probably have spent the whole day in bed until visiting hours today.

It’s time for some discipline now. Rule: T.V only in the morning when we awake. Then they can play with their toys outside. They’ve been watching far too much TV. It’s getting chilli now, March flew past and now April is bringing on winter.


Tuesday 6th April 2004: Ari is still improving every passing day, his Neuro Doctor is very happy with him, and we can all see the tiny details that assure us Ari will be emerging soon: he obeys simple commands such as “lift your leg, open your eyes”… He has been trying to pull his tubes out which is a dangerous thing but a good sign !

The rest of the Team is working this week on devising a plan for a special edition of African Angling Safaris, we will let you know soon what we have in store for you !

Don’t forget to visit www.africanfishing.com regularly for Updates on Ari and the Show, as well as to check out those new Destinations, Articles and Special Trips posted just for you.

Get those Reels Screaming out there for Ari’s Return !
Gaëlle Bert



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